Monday, June 29, 2009

Michael Jackson

Where to start?

I don't know about the rest of you, but never before in my life have I been so conflicted. I'm usually pretty steady when it comes to my moral core. I pride myself on being able to see multiple sides to situations and try to be compassionate and understanding as appropriate. But when all is said and done, I have some basic core beliefs that I hold myself to and -- right or wrong -- hold others to as well...

And now here's Michael.

When this blog started bubbling up in my gray matter, Michael had just died and the pale, delusional man with the melting face is who I associated with his name. But after days of listening to endless loops of his music -- which I am STILL not tired of -- someone else has emerged. My brain has slowly filed away the man who I believe molested one, if not several, children.

And I am having a hell of a time justifying my sadness over his life and death with that fact.

It just begs the question: are we as a society willing to overlook one of the most heinous crimes -- if not THE most heinous -- because he was a brilliant musician and entertainer? If you're talented enough, can you just do whatever the hell you want??

Normally, I would answer with a resounding "Hell no!" but here I am tap, tap, tapping my feet to the 50th playing of "The Love You Save" and feeling a great deal of sadness for him, his family, and for us.

But I think it's more than just his death. I have to say, I'm not terribly sad to see the freak show he became disappear. It reminds me of when my father died to some extent -- wait, bear with me!! lol. During surgery for cancer, my father suffered a moderate stroke in his right brain which altered his personality. Over the next four years that he lived, he wasn't really my father and I wasn't really his daughter -- I was his cheerleader, as he relearned the most basic things... To make a tremendously long story short -- when he died, I was relieved that I could finally talk to my father again. My pre-stroke father. I knew he was with me again and that I didn't have to pretend anymore. And I guess I feel a little of that with Michael. His death has allowed me to look past who he became and return to the boy, teen, young man that I grew up with.

And that's where the other level of sadness comes in. My heart goes out to that boy who was physically and mentally abused. My heart goes out to the teen, who may have suspected he was gay in a family who was so staunchly religious that he would have been unaccepted if it were true. My heart goes out to the young man who so hated himself that he began mutilating his body in an effort to escape. And my heart goes out to the person who was surrounded and isolated by piranhas and leeches who must have assured him over and over and over that his behavior was perfectly normal -- especially if it meant another trip on Michael's gravy train.

So here I am.

I can't forget what I think he did. I wish he had taken responsibility for it and gotten the help that he so desperately needed. But I also can't ignore how much his music was a soundtrack to the first 25 years of my life. I can't not love him. Not the 'old' Michael. And I guess that's why so many people supported him during his trial. No one wants to believe he was guilty. We want to love him and love his music. And so, we will. And I personally hope that wherever he is, he is at peace and he is being loved unconditionally -- for the first time in his short life. I don't know why any of us is surprised that we lost him at 50. I'm surprised he made it that far. After all, Michael Jackson was the boy who would not grow up.


Nickname unavailable said...

Beautifully written piece, Amy Jo. This described my feelings nearly exactly except that because of my occupation, I really have grown weary of the MJ tunes since his untimely death. He was the epitome of what I believe is a legitimate psychological disorder known as "Peter Pan Syndrome." He truly never did grow up. I don't imagine he knew how. It is with that knowledge that I am able to look past his probable heinous actions with those children. He truly was in psychological distress and little wonder. He made a phenomenal contribution to the 20th Century music scene and touched hearts and minds around the world. That is how I hope to remember him and like you, I pray he is at peace.

Acinom said...

I think you can love the music and love the talent and pity the man without condoning his behavior. That's kinda where I am with it.

Robert said...

Similar to appreciating Richard Wagner's music while condemning his anti-semitism.

AJ said...

I thought you meant Robert Wagner for a second and thought that might explain why he drowned Natalie Wood -- I think she was at least part Jewish. :)